DENVER – Over the past few weeks, three Indigenous artists have created murals in the parking lot of the Denver Central Market in the Denver River North Arts District (RiNo).
These murals are part of the RiNo Mural program and tell the contemporary story of the Native Americans of Colorado.
âNot all natives wear headdresses or wear long braids with feathers. We can wear our comfortable clothes and put on our moccasins, âsaid artist Danielle Seewalker.
November is Native American Heritage Month and artists like Seewalker want their art to shed light on the rich history and culture of the state’s Indigenous peoples.
âI really wanted to do something that’s super fun but very representative of who aboriginal people are today,â Seewalker said.
Seewalker said her mural features six real people she knows personally.
Artist Gregg Deal said his mural reimagines the endings of stereotypical cowboy and Indian stories.
âIt’s basically about reclaiming comic book images from the 40s and 50s that are for all intents and purposes, stereotypical and derogatory to natives,â Deal said. âI think that as a contemporary artist, I mainly look at the way I experience the world. I look at things through my own point of view as an Aboriginal person and also simply as a human being.
Artist JayCee Beyale, who has lived in Colorado for years, said creating her mural was the accomplishment of a long-term goal.
âI had dreamed of painting this wall for years and it finally came to fruition,â Beyale said.
Beyale said the purpose of her mural was to show the Native American influence on fashion.
“It’s just about letting trendy kids know that this fashion, the felt hats with the feathers, the sunglasses, the jewelry from the southwest is something that has always been cool in our culture, and that ‘made it cool, it’s the elders,’ Beyale said.
Every artist has said this Thanksgiving, they want the colorados to know that many natives view this holiday as a time of solemn reflection.
âIt’s about coming together, sharing a meal and giving thanks, but the native people certainly don’t forget what it came out of,â Seewalker said.
Seewalker, Deal and Beyale have said that through their art they hope to encourage viewers to watch the country’s uncomfortable history and untold stories of Indigenous peoples.